Escaping Fresh Produce

Written with my Thursday night writing group with the prompts:  waiting for the rain, in the kitchen, wayfarer, in the hands of God

Maryann sat in the kitchen surrounded by fresh produce Frank had carried in just moments earlier.  She didn’t know where he’d gotten this large paper bag of zucchini and tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers, green beans and onions.  She didn’t ask.  Frank had simply appeared, all chatty about the sunshine and the scent of basil and the sharp screech of the scrub jays outside, and Maryann had watched him from her perch at the kitchen table, her half-drunk cup of coffee and milk cooling in her hands, and she’d looked agape at Frank and all the fresh vegetables, not saying a word.  She sipped from her cup, wincing at the cold liquid–and Frank—suddenly so fucking perceptive!–he immediately offered to top it off for her, to warm it back up.   She quickly stretched a flat hand over the cup and shook her head, no.  Frank grinned and spread his hands over all the wonderful food.  He said, “Tonight we feast!”

Then he was gone, and Maryanne bit her lip in disgust.  What she wouldn’t give for a frozen pizza from a cardboard box or one of those cheese and meat hot pockets that you cook in the microwave.  No, she was stuck here in this kitchen with a madman who insisted that she chop and mince and steam and roast.  What the hell was the matter with this guy?  She lifted her eyes to heaven, waiting for a rain hard enough that it would wash off this sturdy roof, dissolving all barriers so she could fly away up through the gathering clouds, gray and spongey and heavy like a river that was carving a deep channel in heaven.  If she could lift this ceiling, would she see the hand of God, would God’s mighty hands be there to carry her away from this torment?

What had happened to the man she’d married?  They’d once been so ambitious and dedicated to their careers. Frank had been happy to live on take-out mooshu pork and deli sandwiches from Safeway.  Retired now he had morphed into a kind of Earth Nymph, hovering over her with fresh plums and cups of decaffeinated green tea sweetened by honey produced by local bees.  Dear God, make it stop!  Marianne longed to be a wayfarer, secretly traveling on two lane mountain roads, seeking refuge in cheap motels and lakeside cabins.  She eyed the zucchini.  She would leave those but this basket of cherry tomatoes would fit inside her purse.  She reached for her car keys.

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